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I'm a UK citizen, currently working in the US, in

I'm a UK citizen...

I'm a UK citizen, currently working in the US, in California, as a Software Engineering Manager under an L1-A visa. My visa can be extended as far as 2020, and I'm also currently applying for a green card which is approximately another year out from being approved. I have a wife who is also working here under an L2 visa.A few months ago, I started building a side-project (with no revenue or profit, a totally free service). I've been working with another engineer, a US citizen, who has 50% co-ownership of the project. Recently, the project has been gaining some momentum, and we're talking about the possibility of applying for investment.This puts me in a difficult position, as my L1-A visa only allows me to be employed by my current company. So my questions would be:- Can I contribute (or act as an advisor) to the company, while not being employed by it?
- Does my equity in the company (currently 50%, likely to be diluted with any investment or new employees) pose any problems for me if it starts collecting revenue or turning a profit?
- If the above pose problems, is it possible to create an agreement that my equity only vests to me once I've gotten a green card?
- Is there any other means for me to contribute as much as possible, without taking any salary, and without jeapordizing my current visa status or green card application?

Lawyer's Assistant: What steps have you taken? Have you filed any paperwork with the U.S. government?

No, right now this is just a side project, not a registered company.

Lawyer's Assistant: Have you talked to a lawyer about the visa?

No.

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

No, thanks

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Answered in 12 minutes by:
3/19/2018
Edward Young
Category: Immigration Law
Satisfied Customers: 515
Experience: Principal Attorney at The Law Offices of Edward D. Young, III
Verified

Hi. My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney. I would be happy to provide assistance. Please give me a few minutes to formulate a response. Also, please keep in mind that our conversation does not include an attorney-client relationship and this is for general information purposes only.

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Question 1: Can I contribute (or act as an advisor) to the company, while not being employed by it? Yes, you can contribute money to the company but your role can only be passive. You can be a shareholder and a director, but don’t become an officer, employee or independent contractor of the business or do any additional work for it.

Question 2: Does my equity in the company (currently 50%, likely to be diluted with any investment or new employees) pose any problems for me if it starts collecting revenue or turning a profit? No, you ay make financial investments that, hopefully, will generate financial gain, provided that the investments are entirely passive in nature and not the result of working. It would be possible to invest in a private company, as long as the only role of the individual is as a passive investor.

Question 3: If the above pose problems, is it possible to create an agreement that my equity only vests to me once I’ve gotten a green card? If you are truly a passive investor, I do not see any problems that your investment would cause.

Question 4: Is there any other means for me to contribute as much as possible, without taking any salary, and without jeopardizing my current visa status or green card application? There is one other option that I can think of. You might seek to become an E-2 treaty investor. With premium processing, you could get approved quickly but I do not know how it would affect your pending green card application. Here is a link to immigration experts that can help you decide whether this E-2 treaty investor option is good for you, or whether you should just be patient for another year until you get your green card: http://www.immi-usa.com/e2-visa-processing-time/

I hope this helps. Please go ahead and rate me. If you have any follow-up or clarification questions, please ask! There is no additional fee. If I have fully answered your question(s) to your satisfaction, I would appreciate you rating my service (hopefully Excellent/5 stars!) at the top of the screen. Otherwise, I receive no credit for assisting you. I thank you in advance for taking the time to provide me a positive rating! A BONUS is also appreciated if you feel I've earned one today.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
while I'm a "passive investor", what would count as "additional work?" -- would I be able to:a) Help decide the direction of the company, either as a business or the technical direction?
b) Make any decisions around who to employ, or help with any interviews?According to this page: http://www.immi-usa.com/h1b-holder-start-business/ "an H1B holder can start a business and also work for it" providing certain conditions are met -- do those conditions apply to L1A also, and would they enable me to do actual work for the company without being employed by it?

There are certain start-up activities that you can engage in, as you can for an H-1B. Many of the activities related to founding a startup are not considered “work." This includes forming the legal entity, investing and receiving returns on your investment, negotiating contracts, signing leases for office space, signing contracts with vendors or clients, pitching to investors, etc. You are free to do things of this nature for your startup while still on your L-1A from your employer. If you want to be involved in things like day-to-day operations, making decisions about who to hire, helping with any interviews, and product development, you cannot do those things on an L-1A visa.

Please go ahead and rate me. I get no credit for my work for you until you do. If you have other questions about my answers, feel free to ask. There is no additional charge.

Edward Young
Category: Immigration Law
Satisfied Customers: 515
Experience: Principal Attorney at The Law Offices of Edward D. Young, III
Verified
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Thank you so much for the 5-star rating! I know rating takes an additional step and I truly appreciate you taking the extra time! It's been my honor and privilege to help you with this. If I can help you in any way in the future, I'll be happy to help. For easy access, my bookmark is: https://www.justanswer.com/law/expert-visaspecialist/ Or, simply request “Edward only” in the first line of your question.

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